Originally Posted by norak
I will admit I have made a mistake. I assumed that heart disease is a disease of affluence. After further research, this seems less clear. According to the British Medical Journal, there is more heart disease in developing countries than developed countries.
So. what? Honestly.. even if heart disease was worst among people in the US or Saudis or people with incomes over a million dollars a year where does Christ tell us that it is wrong to contribute to research that helps people who not in financial poverty?" We are commanded to love one another.. not just ove the poor.
Look at someone like Wangari Maathi- who is dedicated to sustainable development- her work on matters like soil erosion was work that explained the descent into deep poverty for thousands of Kenyans over a fairly short period of time. If we look at the green belt movements it is something that at the time we may have said "C'mon, she wants money to plant trees while people down the road are close to starvation?" and opted to give to some organization that wants to teach someone to fish... when so many of the worlds poor no darn well how to fish, what Maathi knew was that the resources that allow that knowledge to thrive had been eaten away by the very idea of higher and faster profits that destroy the land and destroy sustainable farming methods.
I do not give my money randomly to anyone. I can give money randomly, e.g. I can roll a die to select where my money goes and the money may end up with a known criminal. We could construct a chain of cause an effect that establishes how this criminal's receiving the money can result in his doing something that is virtuous.
Most people don't give their money randomly. That's quite reasonable. Does the fact that food aid transports are sometimes the victim of pirates mean it's not acceptable to send food aid?
I don't think most Christians would advocate giving money to just about anyone.
Again I don't think anyone advocates that either. But Christ does. He tells you to just give it away and not worry about your next meal. He doesn't tell us to investigate fully when someone asks for something. Does that mean we don't practice good stewardship? No... our faith is weak and entertaining angels is scary stuff.
When companies fund medical research within their own research department, they try to have some say into what research the scientists do so that the results can be most profitable for them. Pfizer may want to direct their funding toward drugs that lower cholesterol or reduce obesity. They could fund something completely different, e.g. something in the field of botany, and it may be that botanists researching whether certain plants can detect light may accidentally result in a discovery that enables them to find a way to reduce cholesterol very well and that turns out to be profitable for the company.
Is profit bad? Drug companies aren't in it for the good of mankind - they're in it for the money. Be it wealth or merely enough to keep the research going they're looking for the cash to bank roll the next event.
Funding for weapons research may uncover scientific knowledge that helps veterinarians treat animals. Does that mean I should give money to weapons research instead of animal rights groups?
Not unless you have some conviction that weapons research isn't already getting a big chunk of the budget pie and you have a belief that you are called to some sort of high tech weapons development ministry. It wasn't my impression anyone told you that you were wrong to decide where "your" money goes (it's not yours you know..)
Another point I want to make is other people telling me that I cannot tell other people what to do with their money. I cannot force other people to give their money to certain charities. This is illegal and also not Biblical because it would be a form of theft. But I do have the legal and Biblical right to persuade other people to support certain causes if the Bible supports these causes. Jesus said we are to help "the least of my brethren."
You have the right to say pretty much whatever you want. You are wrong if you believe you are the one who knows for sure what God has called all Christians to do. Are you sure the "least" of Christ's brethren are only the financially poor? Who are the least in any community? Are the least those who are disabled, disfigured, those who have made mistakes or had the misfortune of being born to a neighborhood hooker?
I still believe it is a good idea to look at where your money goes instead of just giving it to anyone and claiming the benefits will eventually trickle down to the poor.
Nobody suggested it's not a good idea to look at where your money goes. I give to an animal shelter, I know darn well I'm not giving in an attempt to help poor people anywhere. I give because it's a no kill (ever) shelter that spends 100% of it's intake on the animals. Does that mean the vets we pay a fortune to agreeably sponsor low and no cost spay/neuter clinics -- yup? Is that pet essential to that poor family.. maybe not.. but a pet goes a long way toward a mending a broken spirit.
I give to partners in health because I am humbled by Dr. Farmer and his dedication, and his work towards providing health to the poorest and most difficult to reach among us. His services in Haiti are his main mission, and his first mission is always to those who have no access to health care, but he teaches classes to some of our wealthiest students (although among them are the usual scholarship folks... who as Americans probably don't meet your standards for being in poverty)
I give to the community center here because I know they provide counseling and services to street kids and kids in foster care who have been abandoned by their parents. That most of those kids will never have to live in a garbage dump and dig for trash to get money for food doesn't make them anything more than the "least" where they live, rejected and at the mercy of others.
I give to an autoimmune disease research fund because it really hoovers to be the person on the street everyone else is huffing and puffing to get around because of the invisible agony of RA or to be the person who doesn't have dental coverage and is in 24 hour mouth pain because sjogren's syndrome has caused severe dental caries, and I pray that researchers will find ways to treat these diseases that help relief the pain.
I also believe that as a Christian I should indeed tell other people how to live their lives. I tell children not to have sex before marriage, not to steal, and not to drink too much alcohol.
Really, without sin? toss that first stone. Adults are not children, and some denominations believe ANY alcohol is a sin. Do you get to tell those who believe it's not enough not to drink too much that they should go ahead and have a beer now and then?
Share your opinion and understanding all you want, but just like doing a little more research into Heart disease reveals you didn't have all the facts remember doing a little more prayer may reveal things to you over time about what it means to be poor and to give it all up to follow Christ.
All your giving should be done in secret anyway.. so how can you tell someone else what is best when you aren't supposed to be sounding your trumpet about your own gifts.
I know for me my faith is weak. I cannot give rooms in my home to whomever asks first come first serve.. I have too much fear... my oldest step daughter, her father in law takes people in off the street, literally, they have lived in the same neighborhood for 60 years and it's not such a great area... and on any given day you can find half a dozen male prostitutes, wannabe pimps, pregnant throwaway teenagers, mentally ill folks who have forgotten how to keep up their meds... and and others sleeping in their 7 bedrooms. The rest of the family cringes and waits for one of these folks they take in to go off and kill them. Are they crazy? They are ... it's nuts, it's dangerous business.. are there no workhouses? Seriously though... their faith is humbling - I can't pretend to aspire to their standard, I can't get past my fears. .. it's so much safer to give to world vision, or the one campaign and get to feel good about helping the poor. (Yes vague sarcasm there, but it's directed at myself as well)
My gifts are nothing, but the house we're buying.. as our nest empties out has 6 bedrooms... we didn't go out looking for such a place... but every single house we looked at in our (very low) budget was either a 2 family with a total of 5 or 6 bedrooms, or a one family with between 5-7. I guess there's a reason, and perhaps the reason will be revealed. Right now I refer to those as the cats rooms. (It's so much safer to help cats)